Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


April 11, 2013

Voters will be asked to redo DMS site with youth center

$2.5 million project

The Cormier Family Youth Center will come up frequently at this year’s Annual Town Meeting, with at least three separate votes impacting the project.

A Special Town Meeting within the regular Town Meeting will ask people to divide a town-maintained trust and spend half the money on youth center construction. A separate Annual Town Meeting article has been written to move the building 35 feet to the north.

Finally, voters will be asked to spend $2.5 million to replace all paved surfaces around Doherty Middle School, a capital improvement request that follows the town’s work last year to redesign all paved surfaces around West Elementary School. The youth center will be built behind Doherty Middle School, so supporters believe it makes sense to redesign the Doherty Middle parking lot next, rather than another schools.

The Doherty Middle project was slated to go before voters a few years down the road, according to Ed Ataide, superintendent of the town’s building division.

“When the youth center talked about being built back there, we moved [the Doherty project] up to the same year to introduce some cost-saving measures, so we didn’t dig up the same site twice,” he said.

Original estimates put the Doherty Middle project’s price tag at $3.2 million. Efficiencies gained by running the project at the same time as the youth center construction lowered that cost estimate by $700,000, Ataide said.

The site’s soil conditions are less than favorable for a large-scale construction project, adding to the work that needs to be done, according to Ataide.

A variety of buildings were built on the land at the turn of the 20th century, including a power plant, according to Ataide. When soil samples were done on the site during the youth center’s design phase, officials found fill that a youth center could not be built upon.

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